Fuelling / Refuelling – Part 1

Until recently these two words were not part of my everyday vocabulary. The only time I’d really come across either was when the erstwhile England manager Graham Taylor made reference to Paul Gascoigne having “refuelling problems” back in the early 90s. Loosely translated this meant that between games Gazza liked to sink too many beers and preferred a large donner kebab or KFC to a nice bowl of pasta. beer

Whilst I enjoy a pint or two of my homebrew beer and cider, it’s good stuff, verging on rocket fuel at times, I have in the last year or so radically changed my diet. Out with the processed foods and a drawer full of snacks in my desk at work; in with fruit, veg and fresh meat. This has helped me to lose nearly 3 stone and a lot of body fat to the point where according to a doctor I contacted via a post on #ukrunchat last week my body fat level is that of a Premier League footballer and really I need to actually put a bit back on.

How to balance the right day to day nutrition, plus pre-run fuelling and post-run refuelling has become a regular question in my head. I normally run after work and so have a day’s worth of fuel inside me. I make sure I have a chocolate bar mid-afternoon on running days for some extra energy but that token gesture aside I haven’t really done anything else and my post-run regime is non-existent. This lack of preparation came into sharp focus though after a recent 10k race which was at a different time to my normal runs and after which I felt terrible, read about it here Accrington 10k – Race Review. I needed to start taking this aspect of my training more seriously.

I’ve dabbled with some energy gels on a couple of my longer evening runs but I’d like to start to nail down a regular routine now and so have bought a mixed starter nutrition pack from Science In Sport (SIS) to find out if any of these products can work for me and in business speak add some value.

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Firstly the pack was a bargain at £7.80 from Amazon, box ticked for tight Yorkshireman! The pack contains two GO Energy sachets of powder to mix up in the bottle which comes with the pack and drink around 2 hours before I go out to help me get enough carbohydrates on board ready for my run, in addition there’s two GO Electrolyte powder sachets to again mix up and drink whilst running. Also included are five GO gels for a boost mid-run, one of these is a an electrolyte energy gel which is of particular interest to me as on the two recent 13 mile runs I’ve done I’ve started to cramp up a couple of miles from home and I’m keen to find out if this gel will prevent that. The final product is a chocolate flavour REGO rapid recovery powder sachet to mix up and drink in order to get vital nutrients back in my system straight after I’ve finished.

As well as fuel, hydration is also now on my mind as Spring brings higher temperatures and I actually start to sweat a bit during my runs. Whilst I can do a 10k or so without taking on water the longer runs I’m now embarking on will definitely need me to drink during my runs and so I’ve bagged another bargain and bought a Nike Running belt with two small bottles. I know Sports Direct are derided by many, and with some of their practices rightly so, but I couldn’t pass up the chance to get something I’ve had my eye on for the princely sum of £6.25.

After a decent 10.8 miles in 1hr 23 mins on Monday night fuelled by my normal day’s food and a rather soft Werther’s Original which I found in my bag and sucked on for a couple of miles mid-run, I’m going to put the SIS pack and water belt to the test on Friday when I plan to run just over 15 miles, the longest I’ve ever run.

Before then if anyone has any advice on fuelling/refuelling/hydration or any experience of using these specific products I’d love to have your feedback and I’ll post a full review in part two over the coming weekend. That is if my fingers will type coherently through the additional refuelling haze of gallons of homebrew and enough Nutella and banana cake (thanks to fellow blogger Sophie for the recipe) to feed a small country!! Just taking the doctor’s advice to add a bit of body fat!

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